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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Vendor Review: Double H Photography

We used Double H Photography of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Howie Hartman was our photographer.  It was one of the first decisions we made about the wedding (after honeymoon destination and colors).  He is friends with Philip's aunt and uncle (where we had the reception).  They recommended him and I immediately stalked his website.  Then I told my mom about him and she stalked his website, too.  ;)  

We both liked what we saw, so I contacted him.  He was very friendly.  We signed a contract shortly after and sent in our deposit.  We spoke a few times throughout the planning process but there wasn't a whole lot to plan for since the photography was already a done deal.  

Howie was absolutely wonderful to work with on the day of.  He kept us laughing and was just a lot of fun.  There was drama but Howie stuck it out and made suggestions.  I loved his photo shoot location ideas (Bube's Brewery and in front of an old warehouse).  

At the end of the night, I asked Howie how long he would need to get me the disc of finished photos.  He told me four weeks.  At the one month mark, I emailed him to see if the photos were finished.  He told me that they would be ready in a week.  Two weeks later, he emailed me to let me know that the photos would be ready in a few more days.  A week later, I emailed him to find out if the disc had been mailed yet.  He emailed me a day or so later to tell me that he'd be putting them in the mail the next day.  That was a Sunday.  They arrived on that Friday.  Eight weeks after the wedding.  

I know that eight weeks isn't really bad for pro pics, but it was double the time that I was told it would take.  And I was getting the run around while waiting.  It was just irritating.  I know that Howie was super busy, but he should also know not to take on more than he can handle (and still be able to get customers what he's promised when he's promised them).  

Since the photos took double the time they were supposed to, my standards doubled.  That's just how I roll.  The editing wasn't spectacular and that's what I had expected after double the time.  Zits and other imperfections can clearly be seen in all of our closeup shots.  

Also, Howie took his dinner into the house to eat.  I didn't really care at the time.  However, when we got our pro-pics back and there weren't any pictures of the dinner set-up or our MOH and BM toasts, I was disappointed.  

I probably would have forgiven all of that had it not been for the pink.  I spent over a year planning the wedding.  I had a clear vision of how it should have been.  The tent set-up looked exactly as I had hoped.  I spent months working out how to get the perfect romantic glow in the tent.  I thought I had achieved that.  

The pro-pics definitely didn't show that.  I was going for more rustic-chic.  I loved the creams/whites and the burlap and the candles and the paper lanterns.  I didn't appreciate having pink spewed all over them.  I wish so much that Howie would have let me know what he was doing so that I could have put the kibosh on that.  

I just hate pink and now all of our reception photos are covered in it.  I don't remember specifically telling Howie that I do not like pink.  However, I think it's something he should have mentioned before going ahead with it.  I just didn't think it would come up.  I mean, I did all the decorating so I didn't think to mention to my vendors the colors that I don't like.  

Especially since I didn't think anyone would think this:

Photo courtesy of Howie Hartman of Double H Photography.

...would scream "PINK!"  Oh, well.  Note to all brides: Make sure your photographer knows all the things that you do not want, even if you don't think they're relevant!

Anyway, this review is hard for me.  I really did like working with Howie.  He's a great guy and he's a lot of fun.  However, he did mess up our reception photos.  And he took twice the quoted time to get the photos back to me (and kept stringing me along about it).  

I give Howie 3 out of 5 stars.  His great personality is really what saved him there.  Honestly, I do recommend Howie.  Just make sure you are very clear on everything that you want from him.  And whatever time frame he gives you, double it.  ;) 

I hope that Howie will either hire some full time assistants or stop taking on more than he can handle.  It's obvious that he's taken on more than he should since he can't complete orders in the time that he's quoted (and the fact that the photos he's producing are becoming less creative -- our detail and ring shots were bland).  But, Howie has a ton of potential.  I say give him a shot. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tara. Kudos on this blog and all of the hard work you put into your wedding. You certainly covered every aspect of planning a wedding. I think any DIY'er would benefit greatly from all of the great info you have compiled here.
    I am very sorry some things didn't work out the way you had hoped. I would like to address a few of those things. I took my food inside because there was no place for me to sit in the tent. I eat when you eat; photos of people eating aren't very 'appetizing.' I would have been more than happy to take photos of the toasts, but I didn't know they were going on. Someone could have alerted me and I would have been there in a few seconds. I ate very quickly and immediately returned to the tent. A DJ is very helpful with these sorts of things. They help to run the show so you don't have to worry and can relax and have fun.
    Sorry you were very unhappy with the "pepto bismal" reception shots. I think "messed them up" is a pretty strong thing to write. If the lighting was not pink, would they have been messed up? You are right, we should have coordinated this beforehand. I remember showing you a few shots on the camera, clearly showing the lighting. I would have happily changed it if you had said something. I understand why you weren't happy with the lighting. I could have adjusted the pink in post-processing to reduce, perhaps even change the pink had you requested.
    I apologize for the extended time it took to get you your photos. You shouldn't have had to wait that long.
    All-in-all, you got a steal for my services. My normal pricing for a similar wedding is in the $2k range. The amount of time I put into processing photos after the wedding is more than the wedding itself. It takes a week to go through each and every photo.
    I have taken your review very seriously and have made changes in the way I now handle weddings.
    Best of luck to you and Philip! Thanks for your business.
    Howie, Double H Photography -


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